Presenting just one way of using this vastly versatile plant. The root of most plants are usually not the most attractive part, especially when there’s flowers on top. But sliced up, the lotus root — or the plant’s rhizome — have a unique appearance that catches the eye, as well as a crunchy texture and mild taste that lends itself well to many applications. Such as deep-frying in the manner of potato chips.
It’s certainly one of the more whimsical uses of lotus, whose flowers are a religious symbol and a yoga position. The leaves of lotus are often used to wrap bundles of rice, imparting an earthy flavor when steamed together, or added to teas. And the stem of the plant can be found in floral arrangements, cut with a nub of the root and dried so that its lacy holes are fixed solid in time.
a sliced and peeled specimen
Lotus roots don’t look like much from the outside, resembling long turnips, radishes or other tubers. But when sliced into discs — and I don’t know of too many cooking applications that don’t take advantage of this form — the root’s hollowed interior adds real charm. Lotus roots grow underwater, while its stems grow and bloom flowers above the surface. Hence, the flesh of lotus roots have a crisp, watery texture, if unpalatably fibrous when raw. It actually shares more similarities with another aquatic rhizome with an indestructibly crunchy texture, water chestnut, than potatoes. (Water chestnuts are not really nuts at all.)
- a sliced and peeled specimen
- deep-frying in oil